Despite still recovering from a fever, Ryan Sy pushed through to win the Junior title in 2023 Rotax Max Challenge Philippines by sweeping the season finale at the Carmona Race Track (CRT). He would wrap up the year with 3 wins, 2 podiums, and 405 points to secure the crown by a commanding 88.5 points.
To help improve his chances at the double header weekend, Formula E Racing switched to a brand new chassis for the final event of the year. They then dressed it up with a new bumper and body, which they purchased during their recent trip to Lonato in Italy. Equipped further with his best race engine on hand, Ryan and his #79 kart was readier than ever.
The weekend festivities officially began on Saturday morning with Ryan setting the fastest lap during the Time Trials for Round 5 with a 59.333 secs lap. Satisfied with his pace, the 14-year-old then maintained this momentum into the Qualifying Heats. There he breezed through the competition and won both sessions by over a second, earning him pole position in the Finals. It then became an 11-lap show of force with Ryan completing a lights-to-flag victory and securing full points for Round 5.
Going into Round 6 on Sunday, Ryan extended his lead even further with another captivating showing during the Time Trials. He then jumped straight into Heat 1 where the Formula E Racing driver opened up a 6.027 secs lead by the time the chequered flag dropped. The young talent was again at the front in Heat 2, easily winning against a grid of 10 competitive karters.
Unchallenged all weekend, Ryan still pushed up until the last corner, of the last lap, of the last race of the season even if he was already 7 secs ahead of the competition. He had to do this for his personal accomplishment, to disprove all his doubters that Ryan was not good enough, to show them that he can win races and become champion. In the end, he delivered a masterclass performance all the way to the Finals, sweeping all races of the weekend with the Rotax Max Ph Junior Championship in tow.
Placing 1st in every session all weekend, Ryan credits this to the teachings of team Elson Carpio. “I listened to his advice while doing data, I adjusted to the track conditions, and I had a good understanding of what my setup is supposed to feel like when I’m driving fast, going around corners and the like,” he shared.
With this, Ryan was able to deal with both his illness and pressure from the competition to focus on winning – which he says was his biggest hurdle
It was a season full of ups and downs, but all these new challenges contributed to Ryan’s growth and maturity as a driver. He learned how to overcome adversities and still deliver results on race day.
Ryan’s plans for the off-season and 2024 will be announced at a later date.
[Photos by Matt Romualdez]